Because of this, I have decided to paint the big picture of TopSolid 7 for you…but not in one post! In fact this series of posts will most likely go on for quite some time.
The goal? Simple (and really cool for those of you who follow me)!
I am going to completely walk you through the entire process of using TopSolid 7 to manufacture a part. Yup! I am talking the complete A to Z use of our software. There will be no hidden cameras (that I’m aware of). There will be no speeding-up of videos (especially since I think that’s cheating, and you will never find a sped-up video on my site). And there will be no “magic” tricks applied either. This will be a total and 100% reveal of TopSolid 7.
Why would I do this?
Simple again. Remember the big picture concept? Yup…I’m painting one now.
You see, more often than not, software companies or software resellers don’t want to tell you or show you everything. This is for a bunch of reasons that I think you know already. And this is part of what makes it very hard for you to make a decision on which technology is right for you.
Well…I think that it is time for change. I think that it is time for you to be as clearly informed as possible.
So how will we achieve this? Here’s how…
Over the next few weeks we will be launching a series of blog posts that will cover the entire process, from A to Z, of manufacturing the following part.
These posts will contain written descriptions, a lot of screen shots, and even more narrated videos. Our goal is to completely document every single step that we take to manufacture this part. This means that that no step will be left out. This will show a lot of the strengths of TopSolid 7. It might show some weaknesses too and that’s totally ok. Let’s face it, every software out there will have strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to find the right balance for your needs. And we hope that by documenting things this way we can help you understand how TopSolid 7 can meet and exceed your needs. And who knows, we might even teach you a thing or two about technology along the way.
Here’s how this is going to work. The following is rough outline of the major steps that we will be documenting. And yes, all the little steps will be in there too!
TopSolid 7 is first and foremost a PDM product. Because of that, the first thing that you will need to do is create a new project within our PDM structure. This post will walk you through doing that and show you how easy properly developed PDM can truly be. Moreover we will also introduce you to importing and preparing your customers’ data to be used within TopSolid 7. Read article
Every job is different. Some jobs are easy and some…not so much. In this post we will show you the steps it takes to engineer the three stock conditions that will be used later in our fixture development. Why would we even care about stock conditions? You’ll have to read the post to find out! But note that this post will give you a very in-depth look at what we call in-place assemblies inside of TopSolid 7. Read article
Sometimes you can re-use old fixtures. Other times you need to build special fixtures. In this post we will do both. In fact we are going to start by downloading a vice from Kurt Workholding. We will show you how quickly we can take that imported fixture and capture its design intent within TopSolid 7. From there we will also show you how you can use the PDM to find an old fixture and re-use it in this new job. Read article
Ok, so we have our fixtures and our custom stock conditions all set up. Now it’s time to put them all together so that TopSolid Cam 7 knows what’s what! This is the step that most systems don’t offer because they don’t know how to manage real stock conditions let alone give you simple to use tools to make it easy! Managing stock conditions is key to managing and optimizing rapid movements. Read article
TopSolid Cam 7 is founded on the principle of assembly-based machining. In this post we will show you how easy it is to bring in your custom fixtures and assemble them onto your machine of choice. In this case, we will be using full machine simulation during the programming stages. It is our goal to show you how effortlessly you can work in a digital copy of your environment. Read article
Ok, so I hope that you are a meat and potatoes kind of person because in this post we will be covering the meat and potatoes of our big picture effort. In fact, we will cover every aspect of programming this job from building custom tooling to using stored favorite programming methods. This post will be big and it will cover a great deal. In fact we suggest you have a bathroom break and grab a fresh cup of coffee before you start reading this one! Read article
Step 7 – Verify the Job
This is often a part of the process that is left out due to software limitations not supporting multi-setup parts in one file. Thankfully TopSolid 7 doesn’t limit you here, as you will see, so you can use all of the “really cool” tools that come with TopSolid 7! Here we will be checking for collisions and remaining material. And maybe, just maybe, show you some other cool things along the way! (Full article coming soon)
Step 8 – Machine Simulation Anyone?
Machine simulation is a ridiculously fabulous tool that every shop should use. Why? Very simply, machine tools are expensive! If you are going to crash, it is better to crash a digital version isn’t it? That doesn’t cost anything. Moreover, machine simulation can help you become even more aware of your machines physical limitations. And this knowledge will make it easier to program that machine. This post will introduce you to machine simulation in TopSolid 7, but with a twist. We don’t do machine simulation like everyone else…we do it the right way! (Full article coming soon)
Step 9 – Post Process and Setup Sheets
We know that all of the prettiest graphics in the world do not add up to anything if we can’t create good G-Code and proper setup sheets. This post should help put both of those concerns to rest. Here we will show you how we create G code and what our out-of-the box setup sheets will offer you. It will be fast and painless and worth looking at! (Full article coming soon)
Step 10 – Customer Sends Revision…Now What?
This has happened to every manufacturer in the world at some point or another. In fact this is so common that we think before you are done reading these posts, you will have received a design revision on one of your jobs! Our goal in this post is to show you how TopSolid 7 can streamline design changes for you, even if the design change comes from a different software! Oh yeah..this would be the be the Shangri-La of this little project. We will show you what will update and what will fail and, more importantly, what it will take to get the machine running again! (Full article coming soon)
Hopefully this outline of events catches your eye. Our goal here is, as stated at the beginning, to sell you TopSolid 7. But if we can’t sell you on it today, perhaps we can at least impart what working with real integration means and what the benefits truly are.
Stay tuned because posts on each of these topics will be coming very soon! Subscribe to our RSS feeds to be notified instantly of new posts.